The federal government has asked the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to freeze the bank accounts of Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Walter Onnoghen.
The office of Abubakar Malami, the attorney-general of the federation, said the demand was in line with a presidential executive order.
FG directed the restriction of banking activities on the accounts, pending the determination of the six-count criminal charge it entered against the CJN at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, in Abuja.
The Presidential Executive Order which was issued by President Muhammadu Buhari on July 5, 2018, permits the FG to confiscate assets belonging to persons facing corruption related charges.
The accounts are as follows: (a) Account No. 5001062686 (Euro) Standard Chartered Bank) (SCB)
(b) Account No. 5001062679 (Pound Sterling) (SCB)
(c)Account No. 0001062650 (Dollar) (SCB)
(d)Account No. 0001062667 (Naira) (SCB), and
(e) Account No. 5000162693 (Naira).
Aside allegation that he failed to disclose his assets as prescribed by law, FG, in the charge that was filed by the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, accused the CJN of operating foreign back accounts.
Onnoghen was scheduled to face trial at the CCT over the non-declaration of assets on Monday, 14 January. The trial was adjourned to till Tuesday, January 22.
However, Vice president Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday said President Muhammadu Buhari never had any knowledge of a financial misdemeanor involving the CJN until Saturday evening.
“I can tell you for a fact that he did not even know about this (CJN trial) until Saturday evening. I don’t feel good about it that senior members of my profession are being tried,” Osinbajo said.
“Sometimes, it has consequences such as we have today, such that people say, How can such an important person be subjected to trial without the Federal Government?”
“But I can tell you without any equivocation that he (Buhari) was not aware,” Osinbajo said.